Borna Coric saved three match points before beating No.2 seed Pablo Carreno Busta, as the upsets continued at the Qatar Open on Tuesday.
The 48th-ranked Coric triumphed 5-7 6-2 7-6(8), after saving three match points in the third set tiebreaker before taking advantage of his lone match point when Carreno Busta netted a forehand to secure his place in the second round.
Coric successfully broke Carreno Busta’s serve when the Spaniard was serving for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 in the third set.
The Croat won 27 of the 33 points he played at the net, and had 44 overall winners in the 2 hour, 42 minute match.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Coric said. “It’s the first match of the year. It’s always maybe a little bit tricky, but I can say from the beginning that I was playing very good.
“In the off-season, I was working a lot on the net. I’m very happy with that stat.”
The 10th-ranked Busta has won only one of nine official tour matches he’s played since reaching the US Open semifinals, where he lost to Kevin Anderson.
His defeat wasn’t the only surprise on the day.
Third-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and fourth-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain were also upset in the first round.
Berdych lost 6-4 1-6 7-6(4) to Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, while Ramos-Vinolas was beaten 2-6 7-5 7-5 by Argentinian Guido Pella.
“Pretty tough match,” the 53rd-ranked Struff said. “Very close. I know Tomas, he beat me in French Open. So I knew what to expect in the game.
“I played very aggressive in the tiebreaker and I was very happy after that one.”
Eighth-seeded Feliciano Lopez did advance with a 6-4 5-7 7-6(3) win over fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
2 January 2019
What makes a player the player they are? This is the question at the heart of a new set of... More
5 December 2018
The second season of Fantasy Tennis League continued the success of 2017, with 20,943 coa... More
16 February 2017
In the first part of our series analysing the similarities and differences between men's ... More